Progressivism & The New Deal

Examines failures of reformist programs as described in two proletarian novels: John Steinbeck’sGrapes of Wrath & Thomas Bell’s “Out of This Furnace”.

Progressivism, with its plethora of social and moral reforms, was instrumental in developing new ideas about the role of government which the New Deal later incorporated. The series of reforms from the Progressive Era to the New Deal were a mixed and shifting collection of morally concerned as well as self-interested pressure groups. James Patterson cites this incipient diversity as a result of two possible factors: the regional differences of turn-of-the-century America, and the improbability of accord among conflicting groups.

However, these groups did share a number of commonalities in spite of their wide-ranging gender, race and class concerns. Most reform measures purported an ostensible moderation that was really a conservative movement dominated by business interests who turned to government in order to protect themselves….